Stroke and Spinal Cord Injury

Stroke is a medical emergency and can cause permanent neurological damage, complications and death. A stroke happens when there is loss of brain functions due to a disturbance of blood supply in the blood vessels to the brain. This can be due to ischemia (lack of blood supply) caused by thrombosis or embolism or due to a hemorrhage.

The initial treatment may include thrombolysis, an infusion to restore the blood supply to your brain and antiplatelet agents to prevent future strokes. Sometimes an operation may be necessary to relieve some pressure build-up inside the brain or to remove a blood clot. Subsequently, there are very little one can do apart from physiotherapy and managing the risk factors to prevent future stroke.

Often despite the prompt action of your doctor, a portion of your brain cells would still have been damaged by the blockage. The affected area of the brain is unable to function, leading to inability to move one or more limbs on one side of the body, inability to understand or formulate speech or inability to see one side of the visual field. Some may have loss of functions including standing, passing urine, breathing and etc.

Currently there is no treatment that can reverse the damage that is being done to the brain cells. Brain cells do not self-regenerate once they are damaged by stroke. Although some recovery can take place in the first 3 months, any deficits following that period are likely to be permanent.

Spinal cord injury can be due to a variety of causes, including trauma, tumor, ischemia, developmental disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, demyelinative diseases, transverse myelitis and vascular malformation.

Because the spinal cord acts as the main information pathway between the brain and the rest of the body, a spinal cord injury can have significant physiological consequences. The segment of the cord that is injured, and the severity of the injury, will determine which body functions are compromised or lost. Spinal cord injuries are invariably permanent and can result in sensory deficit, motor weakness, urinary incontinence and difficulty breathing, which is a life-threatening condition.

The initial treatments may include immunoglobulins and other anti-inflammatories as well as surgery if the cause was due to trauma or infiltration. Subsequently, there are very little one can do apart from physiotherapy. If the spinal cord injury is related to impingement, then your doctor would have advised you on the possibility of surgery. A breathing respirator may be required if the patient were unable to breathe properly.

There are no effective treatments in regenerating the damaged or lost nerve cells. But improved emergency care, aggressive treatment and rehabilitation can minimize damage to the nervous system and even restore limited abilities for patient with spinal cord injury.

For patient with stroke or spinal cord injury, Neuroncell® may improve neurological functions by angiogenesis (regenerate blood vessels to restore blood supply) and neurogenesis (regenerate new nerve cells) while reducing inflammation and scar tissue.

There have been numerous studies in the laboratory showing the benefits of stem cell in treating stroke and spinal cord injury. As these are new form of therapy, there is little published literature on the efficacy of the use of stem cell in treating stroke and spinal cord injury. However, it has been widely used on other medical conditions such as heart diseases. From these experiences we know there are no serious side effects and complications and no deaths directly attributable to the stem cell treatment in these clinical studies. As it is a relatively new treatment, its long-term effects are as yet unknown. Furthermore, you may need multiple infusions of cells before seeing signs of improvement.

If you have stroke or spinal cord no longer than three months, you may be eligible for Neuroncell® treatment.